Domenico Tedesco's in-form Schalke side consolidated second place in the table with a 1-0 victory away to Mainz in the Matchday 26 opener on Friday.
Mainz 0-1 Schalke
Goals: 0-1 Caligiuri (55')
The first half was a cagey affair in which Schalke lacked their usual fluency, perhaps a result of key midfielders Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka both starting on the bench. Daniel Caligiuri was the visitors' liveliest attacking outlet, stinging the palms of Mainz goalkeeper Florian Müller early on with a shot from distance and causing trouble in the box with some awkward set-pieces. At the other end of the pitch, Robin Quaison had the hosts' best chance, slicing an effort just wide of the post after an excellent turn inside the box.
It remained a closely-fought midfield battle in the early stages of the second half until a moment of brilliance from Caligiuri broke the deadlock. The 30-year-old collected possession in the centre of the pitch, dribbled past three Mainz defenders and curled an inch-perfect shot into the net to give Schalke the lead. That prompted the home side to get forward with more purpose and they subsequently tested Ralf Fährmann several times in the closing stages as Schalke sat deep and tried to protect their lead, but ultimately the visitors were able to hold on to record a fourth consecutive league victory.
- Meyer was on the bench for Schalke for the first time since Matchday 7.Weston McKennie made his first start of 2018 (and first since Matchday 16) after recovering from injury.Caligiuri scored his first goal of the calendar year here, taking his tally to four for the season.Schalke have already posted more wins (13) than they did over the entire course of last season (11).Tedesco's men are the first second-placed side to win in the Bundesliga since Matchday 20.Fährmann made his 200th appearance for Schalke in this game.
Mainz: Müller – Diallo, Gbamin, Bell (c) – Brosinski, Serdar, De Jong (Muto 65'), Latza (Maxim 46'), Onisiwo – Quaison, Ujah (Öztunali 81')
Unused subs: Adler, Hack, De Blasis, Holtmann
Absentees: Zentner (knee), Berggreen (flu), Balogun (one-match ban)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Schalke: Fährmann (c) - Kehrer, Naldo, Nastasic - Caligiuri, McKennie, Bentaleb, Schöpf (Goretzka 46') – Di Santo (Embolo 76'), Burgstaller, Pjaca (Konoplyanka 51')
Unused subs: Nübel, Meyer, Stambouli, Oczipka
Absentees: Baba (fitness), Teuchert (knee)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Watch: McKennie ready to prove he belongs in the USMNT!